Clarity through coding – educating adults on IT careers

Jon Wrennall
By , - Enabling DigitalEducation

People can have a career in IT for numerous reasons. Some people pursue it as their chosen career path, some are led by a personal interest, whilst others end up here almost by accident and enjoy it so they continue!

But what about those who don’t truly understand what a career in IT involves? Or those who work for an IT company, but don’t know anything about the technical side which can leave them feeling out of touch with their business?

Many of these are parents. As coding becomes part of the UK school curriculum, parents carry an understandable worry of not knowing enough about what their kids are studying at school or college, and as a result the career path into IT they may wish to take.

Their ‘techy children’ leave them mystified by the very idea of programming, and the generation gap seems wider than ever.

To help bridge this and solve the coding conundrum, Fujitsu has been running ‘Hour of Code’ sessions with our employees for several months.

Organised and facilitated by our Fujitsu Distinguished Engineers (FDEs), these give adults who class themselves as ‘non-technical’ the chance to discover what coding is all about, have their questions answered, and even learn the basics in an interactive workshop environment.

One of our FDE’s, Linda Tate, explains how the hugely beneficial sessions took place: “We ran a number of sessions across several Fujitsu sites with more than 150 staff attending overall.

“To help people grasp the basics in a fun way, these started simply and took the format of a game, where participants would use code to do things like move characters around a screen.”

Now rolled out globally, we’ve found the initiative to be a massive success. So much so, our one of our customers, Home Retail Group has now got involved too.

Mark Wilson, who delivered sessions to the HRG team, said: “It was great to be able to help one of our customers by presenting the Hour of Code materials – and also good to see how quickly the delegates progressed and moved on to more complex exercises.”

Innovation Hubs

Fujitsu’s Education Ambassador Programme is also helping to teach parents the value of IT careers for their children. The first phase of the programme sees us installing Innovation Hubs in 10 education establishments across the country. By providing hi-tech equipment that can be used by both students and members of the local community, this helps to develop digital skills further. On top of this, opening up the hubs to the community enables people from all generations to understand more about technology and the opportunities that it offers.

One example of this is our Innovation Hub at Barnsley College, in South Yorkshire, which opens in June. As a community college it is committed to being actively involved in the economic, social and cultural development of the people and businesses that surround it. Once opened, the Innovation Hub will be used is to train members of the local community on the fundamentals of IT.

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This is a fantastic example of Fujitsu’s Human Centric approach that I am personally very proud of.

Jon is Chief Technology Officer for Fujitsu in the UK & Ireland and leads the Fujitsu Distinguished Engineer programme.  Find out more about the programme here.

Feature image credit: Yuri Samoilov

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